Thunder Bay International Airport continues to attract new users and has recently announced that 2011 was a record year with over 719 500 users through the doors, a 4% increase over 2010.
There is no doubt that the airport is an asset our community and regional tourism industry is fortunate to have and is unrivalled across Northern Ontario in terms of air connectivity from major Canadian markets. Having Porter and Air Canada increase their daily seat capacity in the past year, the continued connectivity of Westjet to western and eastern markets and strong regional presence of Bearskin and Wasaya provides travel options not only for the outbound resident but greater inbound options essential to attracting successful conference and sport tourism bids. Its also an asset that is valuable in attracting longer haul leisure markets seeking their epic touring or angling adventure in the region. The city has an important role to play as a gateway to those experiences beyond the city lights. Car rental, accommodation and culinary partners all can benefit as a result.
The installation of a third loading bridge in late 2011, improvements to their parking lots, new private sector investments such as the Pilatus Centre and the massive solar park that will provide renewable energy to the facility are all examples of the Airport Authority growing and innovating to meet changes in the travel industry. The fact that its also continued to resist the charging of "airport improvement fees" is another feather in their cap.
Congrats on a record year and here's anticipating even more growth ahead.